Peaks, Valleys and the Holy Spirit – The Adnoff Story

This letter, written by my dear friend Daniel Murphy, is part of his response to the video below. Please watch the video and then read Dan’s response. Our hope is that you will appreciate the goodness of God in the – challenging as it may be – life that you have, that you may give thanks to God for His mercies – in the midst of your problems – and that you may give yourself completely to the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that your own days are numbered and that peace with God now is your only way forward. (For context, I went to high school in Whittier, California, in the mid-late 1970’s, with Connie Brown Adnoff and with Daniel Murphy.)

Thank you so much for sending Connie Adnoff’s video testimony my way.

Summarizing 45 years of ones life into one hour is a daunting task indeed. I was moved by Connie’s testimony. Through the very highs and heart breaking lows, Jesus was present and Jesus met all of the Adnoff’s families needs.

After some reflection, I was struck with the notion we tend to summarize our life into our highest emotional “peak” and “valley” experiences. Extreme pleasure/joy or pain/sorrow are instantly recalled for a lifetime. For the Jesus follower, life’s “peaks” and “valleys” often include an overwhelming sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence. Experiencing God’s promise of a Comforter, particularly in crisis, is instantly recalled for a lifetime.

That said, after loosing Ric Fox to a terrible tragedy, I tend to think of the “normal” times we spent together. Smoking pipes at our cabin in Wrightwood while reading the Bible together. Flying his red tail hawk with Larry (my Labrador Retriever) scaring up rabbits. Ditching drama class to drive into Hollywood to buy new plays for Mrs. Smith. None of these events were the “peaks” or “valleys” of our high school life of drama. Likewise, Connie Brown and Sue Issacs (as they were known then) were my high school confidants. We spent many lunch hours, under the avocado trees at the old WCHS campus, discussing the idea of fleeing L.A. to some distant island in an attempt to escape the pressures and madness of the Southern California high school lifestyle. (If some Genie had of granted our wish, I am pretty sure, after two days, we would have been bored stiff and would be dreaming of Dairy Queen in L.A). When I recall the great times we spent together, I am more likely to recall the times we were super excited to go surfing, only to find 1-2 foot waves while standing on the cliffs at Bolsa Chica Beach than that 8-10 foot perfect day in Trestles, feeding the calves with Dale in Galt, “Do It For Jesus Lawn Service…”. Memories like these are my best memories of high school and early adulthood.

Why is it, when we remember our closest friends and/or confidants, we recall the “flatlands” even more perhaps than the “peaks” and “valleys of shared experiences?” I think it is because of presence. More precisely, we really miss the “normal” presence of an individual you can trust and share life with. More than the emotional thrill of the highest peaks and lowest valleys, you miss the “flatlands” of day-to-day presence.

Connie’s testimony has given me a deep appreciation for God’s gift of presence. The presence or true friendship (thank you for that). The presence of “flatland” love. My wife Carleen and I go on a long walk every night. If the Lord were to take her (or me) home tomorrow, I think I would miss these walks most of all. Why? Uninterrupted presence is my guess.

Last, but certainly not least, the presence of the Holy Spirit. I cannot imagine trying to navigate through life without the presence of the Holy Spirit. To God be the glory. When you visit SOCAL in the fall, please thank Connie for her thoughtful testimony and thank her for holding fast the Word of Truth.

Daniel L. Murphy

“Amor est vitae essentia”